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Title:Cosmopolitanism and the African Renaissance: Pixley I. Seme and Alain L. Locke
Author:Harris, LeonardISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Renaissance Studies (ISSN 1818-6874)
Geographic term:Africa
About persons:Alain Leroy Locke (1886-1954)ISNI
Pixley Ka Izaka Seme (1880-1951)ISNI
Abstract:The author explores the heretofore unknown relationship between Pixley kaIsaka Seme, one of the founders of the African National Congress, and Alain L. Locke, the primary architect of the Harlem Renaissance. He suggests that Seme's Pan-African sensibilities created the conditions for Locke to explore what it means to pursue an African Renaissance; and Locke's focus on literary expression was an exemplar for Seme's later forays in journalism and cosmopolitan unions across ethnic lines. Seme and Locke, however, created significantly different concepts of African regeneration, Renaissance, race and cosmopolitanism. Their concepts are described and evaluated. Seme's approach to Renaissance is criticized for its reliance on an ideal of valuation that renders values stable and unchanging. Locke's value theory contends that valuation is necessarily engaged in transvaluation, thus, human cognition is necessarily always engaged in creating new value categories. Locke's approach is criticized because it allows for what the author defines as 'sophisticated cruelty': the unintentional social destruction of ethnic group values. The author argues that Locke's approach of moderate cosmopolitan has the least theoretical disadvantages of major concepts of cosmopolitanism and Pan Africanism. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]